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U.S. unemployment drops below 8% for first time after 43 consecutive months! :-)

The U.S. unemployment rate decreased to 7.8% in September 2012, and the total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 114,000, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report released on Friday! I have not blogged about unemployment for awhile, since it was not getting worse and was not getting DRAMATICALLY better – just gradually improving. However, the September data show that unemployment DROPPED BELOW 8% for the first time since President Obama took office.

Personally, I am happy to forward the good news, in trying to keep the overall tone of this blog positive in a very negative world.

Maroons who believe that the numbers were somehow “cooked” are a lot of the same maroons who don’t believe the scientific data for global warming, yet believe a lot of other nonsense with little or no factual support. :-) Some of these people still favor exploring for, and burning, more fossil fuel at the cost of climate, air quality, and groundwater purity.

“These kinds of bumps and wiggles don’t have much of an effect on how people vote,” said Eric McGhee, a policy fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California and an expert on voter behavior. “You can pretty much predict people’s opinions by midyear in an election year.”

Yeah, especially “Thinking-Judging” people who do more judging than thinking…! 😉 On the other hand, long-time readers of this blog know what I think about the opinions of “experts.” Show me the data, and I’ll form my own opinion.

The Republicans have been beating (Obama) over the head with the fact that it has not gone under 8 percent,” said Henry Brady, dean of the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley.

Meanwhile, back at the Bureau of Labor Statistics report:

The number of unemployed persons, at 12.1 million, decreased by 456,000 in September.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (7.3 percent), adult women (7.0 percent), and whites (7.0 percent) declined over the month. The unemployment rates for teenagers (23.7 percent), blacks (13.4 percent), and Hispanics (9.9 percent) were little changed. The jobless rate for Asians, at 4.8 percent (not seasonally adjusted), fell over the year.

In September, the number of job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs decreased by 468,000 to 6.5 million.

The number of persons unemployed for less than 5 weeks declined by 302,000 over the month to 2.5 million. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed at 4.8 million and accounted for 40.1
percent of the unemployed.

The unemployment rate has dropped DESPITE a slight increase in the percentage of working-age Americans participating in the labor force (63.6%t in September vs. 63.5%), at odds with Romney’s statement that the decrease resulted from people who stopped looking for work.

Total employment rose by 873,000 in September, following 3 months of little change. The employment-population ratio increased by 0.4 percentage point to 58.7 percent, after edging down in the prior 2 months. The overall trend in the employment-population ratio for this year has been flat. The civilian labor force rose by 418,000 to 155.1 million in September, while the labor force participation rate was little changed at 63.6 percent.

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) rose from 8.0 million in August to 8.6 million in September. These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.

In September, 2.5 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, essentially unchanged from a year earlier. (These data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.

Among the marginally attached, there were 802,000 discouraged workers in September, a decline of 235,000 from a year earlier. (These data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.7 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in September had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.

For 2012, so far, the GROWTH in employment has averaged 146,000 people each month, down slightly from the average growth of 153,000 per month in 2011.

So, which areas of the economy increased employment in September?

In September, employment rose in health care and in transportation and warehousing.

Health care added 44,000 jobs in September. Job gains continued in ambulatory health care services (+30,000) and hospitals (+8,000). Over the past year, employment in health care has risen by 295,000.

In September, employment increased by 17,000 in transportation and warehousing. Within the industry, there were job gains in transit and ground passenger transportation (+9,000) and in warehousing and storage (+4,000).

Employment in financial activities edged up in September (+13,000), reflecting modest job growth in credit intermediation (+6,000) and real estate (+7,000).

Manufacturing employment edged down in September (-16,000). On net, manufacturing employment has been unchanged since April. In September, job losses occurred in computer and electronic products (-6,000) and in printing and related activities (-3,000).

Employment in other major industries, including mining and logging, construction, wholesale trade, retail trade, information, professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, and government, showed little change over the month.

Perhaps as significantly, the total nonfarm payroll employment was revised UPWARD for the two months preceding September:

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for July was revised from +141,000 to +181,000, and the change for August was revised from +96,000 to +142,000.

It looks like the American economy is taking off DESPITE the best efforts of some ideologues and some large employers to hold it back to influence the coming election. They may hold down workers for awhile, but….

It’s really hard to hold America down.

-Bill at

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